DOT reviews construction site, asks drivers to be alert after high number of Interstate crashes

DOT reviews construction site, asks drivers to be alert after high number of Interstate crashes

After several I-39/90 crashes involving multiple cars south of Madison, officials are responding by looking into what can be done and reminding drivers to stay alert.

Construction continues on the highway as part of the I-39/90 expansion project.

There were at least three crashes causing backups near Stoughton in the past week.

“There are 50,000 to 60,000 vehicles on the interstate every day,” said Steven Theisen, WisDOT project communications manager. “Certainly, there have been a high number of crashes.”

DOT reviews construction site, asks drivers to be alert after high number of Interstate crashesHe said the crashes have involved several semitrucks, which make up about a third of the traffic on the interstate.

“Semis do have more severe accidents because of the size,” said Jerry Klabacka, Diesel Driving School president.

Klabacka said professional truck drivers are no more prone to accidents than automobile drivers.

“Their job and future and family life depend on their safe driving,” he said.

However, the aftermath of their crashes can be worse.

“The highway can be blocked for hours and hours,” Klabacka said, adding that it’s best for drivers to keep a safe distance behind trailer truck drivers.

“Give the truck drivers a break,” he said.

Theisen agreed, adding that tailgating and distracted driving are often to blame for crashes.

“Rear-end collisions are the most common work zone crash,” he said.

After recent crashes, Theisen said the DOT is looking into whether they should make any changes.

“There is a lot of discussion certainly any time there is a crash,” he said. “We have project staff that continually review and monitor work zones and make any necessary adjustments.”

He wants drivers to do their part on the road, as well.

“Plan ahead, don’t tailgate, and eliminate distractions when driving,” he said.

Theisen said the DOT also works with emergency responders to plan how to best handle crashes by having meetings and letting them know about certain access points on the interstate so emergency vehicles can get on-scene as soon as possible.

For construction updates, visit this website.